Jesus was a master communicator and therefore he is our model for preaching to change lives. Jesus was the greatest speaker, teacher and communicator who ever existed. He spoke to large audiences in places like the synagogues, the mountainside, the seaside, and in the streets. He addressed small groups such as the Pharisees who liked to debate him, the disciples who wanted to learn from him, and his friends such as Mary, Martha and Lazarus who conversed with him about their daily needs. He also spent time one-on-one with people like the Samaritan woman and the rich young ruler.
Jesus was always prepared and he spoke with authority and confidence. So much so that the people were often amazed at his teaching (Matthew 7:28-29). He used simple language (not shallow, but easy to understand) yet the awed the educated. He used a variety of techniques (parables, object lessons - coin, analogies, humour, role models, questioning, and lectures). No wonder the Gospel writers tell us that the common people heard him gladly – they listened to him with delight (Mark 12:37).
In John 12:49, Jesus tells us that the Father told him what to say (the content of his message) and how to say it (the delivery style of his message). Both of these are important. Through learning from Jesus, the disciples gained confidence in speaking even though lacking in formal education (Acts 4:13).
The objective of our communication is not oratory or brilliant speech but to make the message clear so that people can respond (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). The great commission commands us all to be teachers of the gospel and of God's ways of living. There must be a balance between our preparation (skill) and our dependence on the Holy Spirit (anointing).
Tomorrow we’ll begin looking at five questions I ask myself every time I prepare to speak.